1963: Please Please Me

 

Parlophone/March 22, 1963  PMC 1202 (mono) PCS 3042 (stereo)

 Produced by George Martin.

All songs composed by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, unless otherwise noted.

 

Side 1:

I Saw Her Standing There 

Misery 

Anna (Go To Him) (Arthur Alexander)

Chains (Gerry Goffin/Carole King)

Boys (Luther Dixon/Wes Farrell)

Ask Me Why

Please Please Me

Side 2:

Love Me Do (mono only, also on the stereo edition of the LP)

P.S. I Love You (mono only, also on the stereo edition of the LP)

Baby It's You (Hal David/Burt Bacharach/Barney Williams)

Do You Want To Know A Secret 

A Taste Of Honey (Ric Marlow/Bobby Scott)

There's A Place

Twist And Shout (Bert Russell/Phil Medley)

 

On this first LP, the composers were identified as McCartney-Lennon, from the next LP onwards, Lennon-McCartney has been the standard practise. Beatles first real LP was primarily recorded to capitalize on the hit-single "Please Please Me". The two singles "Love Me Do"/"P.S. I Love You" and "Please Please Me"/"Ask Me Why" were complemented by ten newly recorded songs, which made for such a great album that it stands well on it's own feet. And it conquered the british charts, keeping it's number one position until it was abdicated by The Beatles' next LP!

When the LP was released as a CD in 1987, it was available in mono only.

Liner Notes:

Pop picking is a fast 'n' furious business these days whether you are on the recording studio side listening out, or on the disc-counter side listening in. As a record reviewer I find myself installed halfway in-between with an ear cocked in either direction. So far as Britain's record collecting public is concerned, The Beatles broke into earshot in October, 1962. My natural hometown interest in the group prevented me from taking a totally unbiased view of their early success. Eighteen months before their first visit to the EMI studios in London, The Beatles had been voted Merseyside's favourite outfit and it was inevitable that their first Parlophone record, LOVE ME DO, would go straight to the top of Liverpool's local hit parade. The group's chances of national chart entry seemed much more remote. No other team had joined the best-sellers via a debut disk. But the Beatles were history-makers from the start and LOVE ME DO sold enough copies during its first 48 hours in the shops to send it soaring into the national charts. In all the busy years since pop singles first shrank from ten to seven inches I have never seen such a British group leap to the forefront of the scene with such speed and energy. Within the six months which followed the Top Twenty appearance of LOVE ME DO, almost every leading deejay and musical journalist in the country began to shout the praises of The Beatles. Readers of the New Musical Express voted the boys into a surprising high place via the 1962/63 popularity poll ... on the strength of just one record release. Pictures of the group spread themselves across the front pages of three national music papers. People inside and outside the record industry expressed tremendous interest in the new vocal and instrumental sounds with The Beatles had introduced. Brian Matthew (who has since brought The Beatles to many millions of viewers and listeners in his "Thank Your Lucky Starts", "Saturday Club" and "Easy Beat" programmes) describes the quartet as visually and musically the most exciting and accomplished group to emerge since The Shadows.

Disc reviewing, like disc producing, teaches one to be wary about making long-term predictions. The hit parade isn't always dominated by the most worthy performances of the day so it is no good assuming that versatility counts for everything. It was during the recording of a Radio Luxembourg programme in the EMI Friday Spectacular series that I was finally convinced that The Beatles were about to enjoy the type of top-flight national fame which I had always believed that they deserved. The teen-audience didn't know the evening's line-up of artists and groups in advance, and before Muriel Young brought on The Beatles she began to read out their Christian names. She got as far as John ... Paul ... and the rest of her introduction was buried in a mighty barrage of very genuine applause. I cannot think of more than one other group British or American which would be so readily identified and welcomed by the announcement of two Christian names. To me, this was the ultimate proof that The Beatles (and not just one or two of their hit records) had arrived at the uncommon peak-popularity point reserved for discdom's privileged few. Shortly afterwards The Beatles proved their pop power when the by-passed the lower segments of the hit parade to scuttle straight into the nation's Top Ten with their second single, PLEASE PLEASE ME.

This brisk-selling disk went on to overtake all rivals when it bounced into the coveted Number One slot towards the end of February. Just over four months after the release of their very first record The Beatles had become triumphant chart-toppers!
Producer George Martin has never had any headaches over choice of songs for The Beatles. Their own built-in tunesmith team of John Lennon and Paul McCartney has already tucked away enough self-penned numbers to sustain a steady output of all-original singles from now until 1975! Between them The Beatles adopt a do-it-yourself approach from the very beginning. They write their own lyrics, design and eventually build their own instrumental backdrops and work out their own vocal arrangements. Their music is wild, pungent, hard-hitting, uninhibited ... and personal. The do-it-yourself angle ensures complete originality at all stages of the process. Although so many people suggest (without closer definition) that The Beatles have a trans-Atlantic style, their only real influence has been from the unique brand of Rhythm and Blues folk music which abounds on Merseyside and which The Beatles themselves have helped pioneer since their formation in 1960.

The record comprises eight Lennon-McCartney  compositions in addition to six other numbers which have become firm live-performance favourites in The Beatles repertoire.

The group's admiration for the work of The Shirelles is demonstrated by the inclusion of BABY IT'S YOU (John taking the lead vocal with George and Paul supplying the harmony, and BOYS (a fast rocker which allows drummer Ringo to make his first recorded appearance as a vocalist). ANNA, ASK ME WHY, and TWIST AND SHOUT also feature stand-out solo performances from John, whilst DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET hands the audio spotlight to George. MISERY may sound as though it is a self-duet created by the multi-recording of a single voice ... but the effect is produced by the fine matching of two voices belonging to John and Paul. John and Paul get together on THERE'S A PLACE and I SAW HERE STANDING THERE: George joins them for CHAINS, LOVE ME DO and PLEASE PLEASE ME.

TONY BARROW

I Saw Her Standing There 

basic recording- 11 Feb 1963
additional recording- 11 Feb 1963
master tape- twintrack 2d generation

mono and stereo mixed: 25 Feb 1963 Remixed in stereo in 1976 for "Rock'nRoll Music" (USA-version)

 

The original stereo has a drop in volume in verse 3 near "we danced through the night" which is corrected in the remix (on "Rock'n'Roll Music" in the USA, "Rock'n'Roll Music vol.1" in the UK), which also has the two tracks brought slightly to center.

 

Misery 

basic recording- 11 Feb 1963
additional recording- 11 Feb 1963
master tape- twintrack 2d generation

mono and stereo mixed: 25 Feb 1963 Re-mixed in stereo in 1980 for the USA "Rarities" album.

 

The instrumental intro has been edited and is shorter in mono than in stereo. In the remix (1980) the left instrumental channel is relatively louder, which isn't bad, but reverb has been added too, especially in the intro vocal.

 

Anna (Go To Him) 

basic recording- 11 Feb 1963
additional recording- 11 Feb 1963
master tape- twintrack 2d generation

mono and stereo mixed: 25 Feb 1963

 

Chains 

basic recording- 11 Feb 1963
additional recording- 11 Feb 1963
master tape- twintrack 2d generation

mono and stereo mixed: 25 Feb 1963

 

Boys

basic recording- 11 Feb 1963
additional recording- 11 Feb 1963
master tape- twintrack 2d generation

mono and stereo mixed: 25 Feb 1963

 

Ask Me Why

basic recording- 26 Nov 1962
additional recording- none
master tape- twintrack

mono mixed: 26 Nov 1962 and 25 Feb 1963. There is no known difference between the two mono mixes.

stereo mixed: 25 Feb 1963

 

Please Please Me

basic recording- 26 Nov 1962
additional recording- 26 Nov 1962
master tape- twintrack 2d generation

mono mixed: 26 Nov 1962. edited.

stereo mixed: 25 Feb 1963. edited.

 

Please Please Me (mono) and (stereo) were made from different takes, although the five sections of harmonica are the same on both. The harmonica overdubbing was only done once.

The stereo version has the famous collision in verse 3 on "You know you never even try"/"Why do I never even try", followed by the laugh on "Come on come on". Some have explained this difference by saying the mistake was repaired for the mono version by editing in a replacement for just this section. However, the two versions have differences all the way through, so they must be two different complete takes. For example, in verse 1, compare the sound of the word "try" in the second line, and in the bridge, compare "reason with you, oh yeah" in the stereo version against "reason with you, whoa oh yeah" in the mono version. John's voice is rougher all the way through the mono take.

In stereo, the harmonica appears in the right channel, the same as the vocal. During the first 4 segments, which occur between vocal lines, the bass guitar sound also comes way up on the right, and the whole ambience changes much more than in mono. During the last segment, which overlays vocals, the harmonica is less audible than in the mono mix, which is puzzling.

Lewisohn reports in Recording Sessions that the mono mix was from "unknown takes", meaning he saw no studio documentation for takes. The easiest explanation is to suppose that the mixing information was already missing in February 1963 and that it led to the staff accidentally editing the pieces into the wrong take when they did the stereo mix, three months after the mono. The changes in ambience therefore are the difference between two takes.

David Prokopy on r.m.b. has proposed that a tape reel was lost, so that the harmonica survived only on the mono mix itself, and that therefore the stereo mix was made by synchronizing the mono mix with an alternate take. This explains why the first 4 segments don't have just the harmonica by itself on the right, but have bass and some of the other sound as well (i.e. the right channel is a processed version of the mono mix), and why the last harmonica segment is at lower volume, namely to hide that it doesn't really match. The last particularly would mean they were deliberately using a different take for want of the correct one.

 

Love Me Do (version 2)

Andy White: drums, Ringo: Tambourine

basic recording- 11 Sep 1962
additional recording- 11 Sep 1962
master tape- twintrack 2d generation (no longer exists)

mono mixed: 11 Sep 1962

stereo mixed: mock stereo made from this version 25 Feb 1963. Digitally remixed in 2000 for "1".

 

This is a different recording from the original single, which featured Ringo on drums. The original single is available on the CD "Past masters Vol.1"

 

P.S. I Love You

basic recording- 11 Sep 1962
additional recording- none
master tape- twintrack 2d generation (no longer exists)

mono mixed: 4 Sep 1962

stereo mixed: mock stereo made from this version 25 Feb 1963

 

Baby It's You

basic recording- 11 Feb 1963
additional recording- 11 Feb 1963
master tape- twintrack 2d generation

mono and stereo mixed: 25 Feb 1963

 

Do You Want To Know A Secret 

basic recording- 11 Feb 1963
additional recording- 11 Feb 1963
master tape- twintrack 2d generation

mono and stereo mixed: 25 Feb 1963

 

A Taste Of Honey

basic recording- 11 Feb 1963
additional recording- 11 Feb 1963
master tape- twintrack 2d generation

mono and stereo mixed: 25 Feb 1963

 

There's A Place

basic recording- 11 Feb 1963
additional recording- 11 Feb 1963
master tape- twintrack 2d generation

mono and stereo mixed: 25 Feb 1963

 

Twist And Shout

basic recording- 11 Feb 1963
additional recording- 11 Feb 1963
master tape- twintrack 2d generation

mono and stereo mixed: 25 Feb 1963. Remixed in stereo in 1976 for "Rock'nRoll Music" (USA-version) and again in 1986 (single reissue)

 

In the UK, the first remix can be found on "Rock and Roll Music vol.1". The remix  has the two tracks moved slightly to center. The second remix , probably made for the film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", or at least for the promotion of the single related to it, has the left instrumental track relatively louder. The second stereo remix can only be found on the US single Capitol B5624, 1986-pressing.

Back to LP's